(CBSLA.com) — Windows has unveiled two new smartphones, along with major improvements to its Surface Pro and Band products.
It’s been 18 months since Microsoft rolled out its last flagship phone, and developers at a news conference Tuesday morning showcased the Lumia 950 to take its place. The news comes less than a month after Apple released the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
The new Lumia 950 and 950 XL will hit shelves in November and retail at $549. Its leading the helm of the new Microsoft 10 Mobile line with its impressive liquid cooling feature.
Microsoft chose a 5.2-inch, 518 PPI, OLED screen that is “so soft, you’ll never see a pixel,” according to Panos Panay, Microsoft Corporate VP and Surface creator. There’s also a 5.7-inch screen – equipped with 564 PPI – available.
Other buzzworthy features include 3 GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 808 processor, making it “the most productive phone you’ve ever used,” Panay said.
The phone comes with two antennas. The phone will default to the strongest connection of the two, no matter where the user is located, for optimal connectivity.
Microsoft is making the camera a priority for the Lumia 950. A 20-megapixel rearview camera features a triple LED RGB flash to nix the red-eye and ghostly-exposures in portraits and crystal-clear Zeiss glass. There’s a dedicated camera button and a fifth-generation optical image stabilization helps cut down on blur. The front-facing, 5-megapixel camera shoots in wide angle.
Also, it captures 4K video.
Which brings up the issue of storage. Microsoft says there’s 32GB of storage on the 950 and 950 XL, but users can bump that up to 2 TB by inserting an SD card,
The USB-C connector allows the phone to charge up to 50 percent in less than 30 minutes.
Want to search the phone but don’t feel like reaching it? Users can activate Cortana – Microsoft’s version of Siri – with the sound of your voice. It’s completely touch-free.
Developers also showed how easily the Lumia connects to a Window PC using a microsoft display dock, which also provides for HDMI and DisplayPort connections and three USB accessories.
The company also debuted what they’re calling their latest and greatest Surface Pro product.
The Surface Pro 4 is the “thinnest most powerful Surface yet,” Panay said.
It’s 8.4 mm thick. It’s also .3 inches wider and 30 percent faster than than the Surface Pro 3, but reportedly with a sturdier keyboard.
Panay even brought up the device’s main competitor, the MacBook Air, and boasted that the Surface Pro 4 is 50 percent faster. That bit of news had many techies buzzing online.
With 1 TB of storage, 267 PPI for image depth and 60 GB of RAM, the Surface Pro 4 is the “tablet that can replace your laptop,” according to Microsoft.
The pen also got some major upgrades, including a magnetic anchoring at the top of the tablet, interchangeable pen tips and an eraser at the tail end.
The company used an organic chemistry homework assignement and a music composer’s sheet to make it clear this technology is changing the way people produce their craft.
Finally, there’s a new Band, the Band 2, which not only tracks physical activities but also monitors sleep. Microsoft is clearly seeing that data-driven health care is the new way to track wellness and they want to be a part of that market.
Lindsey Matese, a member of the Microsoft Band team and marathon runner, says the Band 2 “goes everywhere I goes.”
The company utilized customer feedback to improve on its original Band to make it more flexible and durable, with a curved glass display that bends with the wrist.
The Band 2 now detects elevation and estimates the volume of oxygen being metabolized by the body using heart and breath rates. Matese says this tool proves invaluable for athletes who previously had to test their body’s oxygen efficiency “strapped to tubes and wires” during a special test administered at athletic facilities.
Fitbit paired with the MyFitnessPal app to help users monitor caloric intake. Microsoft says it’s paired with the Lose It! app to offer the same tools on its Band 2.
It’s available for pre-order on Oct. 30 and retails for $249, which places it at the same price point as Fitbit’s high-end Performance series, the Surge.